A Simple Thank You Goes a Long Way

By: Sandra L. Churchill

My mom and dad.

Growing up with traditional manners in my childhood home meant writing thank you notes, mostly to faraway relatives who sent birthday or Christmas presents. Once in awhile, there were special notes written to teachers or scout leaders, church volunteers, or others in response to kind gestures, awards, and such.

The simple thank you has taken on new meaning during Covid amid high-risk situations with front-line workers and the added stress on everyone to obtain medical care during a global pandemic. My mom was struggling to get prescriptions refilled with her doctor’s office, and a worker in charge of patient advocacy was able to resolve a weeks-long problem with overburdened administrative workers not able to fulfill their growing list of patient requests and call-backs. I advised my mom to follow up with a thank-you note because it was important to let that worker know how grateful she was for the extra patience and care in resolving her troubles.

Another situation arose just before Christmas, where a routine physical necessitated some diabetic bloodwork. A long-time “difficult draw,” I have been tagged as the patient who has rolling and collapsible veins, which are tiny enough to warrant only a butterfly needle as well as an urgent prayer to successfully withdraw the necessary tubes needed for this and that. I found myself apologizing for the hassle of simply being this way, though I had no choice in the matter. Still, some of these try-try-again blood nightmares have left me black and blue up both arms and occasionally passing out during the process. What fun! Naturally, my anxiety climbs steadily when bloodwork is ordered—because it seems to be an ordeal each and every time. So imagine my surprise when my hero nurse practitioner, Ashley, took a shot (pun intended) and tackled the bloodwork from the other arm—a true pro! Not only did she get the blood she needed, but wow! It came without bruising! It came without tries! It came without fainting, collapsing or cries! I was so impressed and grateful, I wrote her a thank-you note, complete with a gift card to Dunk’s.

Now it might seem silly to dash out an old-fashioned note for medical care because many believe these instances comprise our medical folks simply doing their jobs. I would argue that it is important to remind them how much their actions and words matter, and how we appreciate their care and skill in tackling tasks we cannot do for ourselves. Ashley was my hero that day because she lifted a worry and panic that has been a problem for years! She restored my faith in humanity, the hope that a long-time problem can have a beaming ray of possibility, and that something can be improved, or simply be—better. Even for one day, her skill and gentle care made life better for this mommy-blogger—and that warrants a thank-you!

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